Mark 12:30-31 NLT says, "And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these."
Every time I read this scripture I always ponder on the second part, verse 31 where it says, "The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself." I think about how many people actually don't love themselves? So, I ask this question... How can you love your neighbor if you don't love yourself?
Some people are angry and bitter with themselves, so they treat people the way that they view themselves.
Some people have low self-esteem and don't know how to love themselves, so they let people treat them any kind of way.
I dealt with the low self-esteem and insecurities within myself. I knew how to treat people nicely, but I didn't demand that same respect, and I would let people walk all over me.
As I stated in a previous blog, I became a people pleaser. I wanted everyone to like me, and I hated to disappoint anyone. If something went wrong in the relationship, I'd blame myself and try to fix it.
I was looking for everyone else to love me, but it was me who needed to love me. I needed to see myself from God's perspective and not everyone else's.
There are so many people that are dealing with hurt and pain internally, and it causes the people around them to become the recipient of their pain.
I knew people who were just angry with the world, so they lashed out at the people around them. They became bullies and would tease others and put them down. But it was just a reflection of how they saw themselves. They didn't love who they were.
It was easier for them to be mean then to be nice to someone because of how they felt about themselves.
Then again there was me. The one who was being bullied because I didn't love myself enough to know that I shouldn't have been treated that way.
With so much taking place in my life, such as sexual abuse and not being able to use my voice and let people know what was going on, I began to become silent. My identity slowly started to drift away. I no longer had a voice, so many people did what they wanted and said what they wanted to me as a child that that carried on into my teenage years and adulthood to the point that I just allowed it. I felt as if I would be rebelling if I didn't do what I was told.
But one day I found out who I was and whose I was and that changed everything that I thought about myself. I learned that love and acceptance don't come from others, but it comes from God. I learned that I was fearfully and wonderfully made. I learned that I was chosen and adopted into the body of Christ. I learned about the sacrifice that Christ made for me when He died on the cross at Calvary. I learned that there is no greater love than the love of Jesus.
Granted I heard these things growing up, but I didn't think that included me. A broken soul, who just wanted to be loved. I accepted Christ into my heart at a young age, but it wasn't until much later that I truly believed and understood His love for me. Now I'm able to love my neighbor the right way, simply because I love myself.
Before I end this blog, I just want to mention this. Last week, my daughter wrote this cute little book about love. She asked me to staple it and then she asked me to read it, and I did. When I got to the last page, I was in awe because of what she had written. This is what it said…
It truly warmed my heart. It was so good to see that she had an understanding of what it meant to love and like herself. I wish I had that understanding at her age. My prayer is that she continues to go through life with that understanding and not allow circumstances in her life to cause her to lose her identity in Christ.
Remember to love God with every part of you and love yourself just like He loves you so that you can love your neighbor the same.